I’ve been reminded that it’s been over a year since I last blogged. I likely deserve worst blogger ever award, or for someone to take my blog away. I’ll admit to drinking it a little less, the product of taking more Bikram Yoga than I used to and not really feeling like a glass of wine after a long evening class. But I’m still here, still love wine, and (obviously) still drinking it.
When I look back over the past year, I think of a few wine-related highlights:
- WineCampTO 3 – I love WineCamp TO. We threw this one at Crush and had a full house of people wanting to hear more from wine folk and taste some of the best Ontario wines around. Check out more about WineCamp TO here.
- Summertime in the Okanagan – while I’m usually stuck indoors for most of the summer (casualty of having a wicked job in PR), my summertime visit to the boyfriend in BC usually lets me have a few days in wine country. Along with my usual stop at Mission Hill – it’s so gorgeous and the Cabernet is among my favorite – we also soaked up some afternoon sun at Cedar Creek. I absolutely fell in love with the property. We arrived just after someone had gotten married in the garden. It smelled like a giant flower bouquet and the wedding set up included rose petals scattered down the isle. Absolutely perfect.
- Ehrenfelser - Cedar Creek-related, I picked up a bottle of this killer fruity white (those that know me know that’s rare) while there and instantly regretted not buying more of it. Crisp, tropical fruit makes it one of the top tasty whites from the Okanagan. It sells out quickly each year but is on my list for this year again for sure!
- Wolf Blass winemaker tasting – My friend Bryan at Wine Align (if you haven’t check out his awesome site, you should) had Chris Hatcher, winemaker at Wolf Blass delight a small group of us at Canoe with a tasting of flights of red and white wines including some top secret wines. Check out a video about the event here.
- Barolo - as if I hadn’t tried this before. It is a fantastic wine. Hands-down among my favorite. I had a bottle given to me as a thank-you gift from a supplier (he gets huge points!) before the holidays, so I took it to my parents for Christmas eve dinner and drank it (seriously, I hardly shared it) with my family and my dad’s rotisserie lamb.
- Birthday – for my birthday this year I didn’t do anything wild and crazy. To celebrate turning ‘thirtysomething’ I took Bikram Yoga with my BFF and then we enjoyed wine and cheese with a few people after. I had my eye on a bottle of Osoyoos La Rose — Le Grand Vin for a bit and what better time than my birthday to indulge? Fantastic wine. Rich and complex but smooth, just the way I like it. It made for a happy birthday!
Hopefully this year I’ll blog more… and drink more wine, too!
The University of Adelaide has posted a survey to gain some insight into Canadian wine consumer behaviour. The survey focuses on how/where/when/why we purchase wine and questions about marketing to name a few.
I found the questions about screw cap wines interesting, since screw caps are something that the Australians have embraced – I’ve purchased quite a few high quality bottles of Australian wine that were screw cap (such as Wolf Blass Platinum Label Shiraz).
There’s incentive to participate – if you complete the quiz, there’s a $100 gift card to be won. I took it and it’s simple and quick – about 5 minutes total.
Check out the survey here.
The Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival is rolling into Banff this weekend… making me wish I could swing a little trip west-ish. What can I say – I love wine events (and the west)!
The RMWFF starts Friday and is at the stunning Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. Weekend events center around tastings of wine, spirits and delish food in the Grand Tasting Hall.
If you’re in Banff you can purchase tickets here.
RMWFF 2009 Highlights from Vine Television
I saw a news release that mentioned The Ultimate Wine Challenge the other day. I’d never heard of it before.
The event, which is held in June in New York City, says its mandate is to: “generate a new platinum standard of trustworthiness, integrity, reliability, and, most important, meaningful and relevant results to international beverage competitions in order to recognize the highest degree of product quality.”
The many judges include Wine for Dummies authors Mary Ewing-Mulligan, Ed McCarthy, and also notable wine figures such as Doug Frost, Steven Olson and Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan.
Wineries can elect enter wines (for a fee and product), however that deadline has passed, it was in late March.
Now here’s the thing… the Challenge doesn’t award medals. They say too many awards are awarded at competitions. But they do however, acknowledge that awards etc lead to marketing power, and they do award a “UBC Certificate of Commendation”. They stress integrity with the Challenge, and use the 100 point system first, then score on a 5 star scale created by F. Paul Pacult (who is the Chairman of the Challenge judges).
I’m not exactly sure what I think about this… on one hand it seems like any regular wine competition.
I was in Vancouver this past Monday, but unfortunately I left just as the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival started. I’ve always wanted to go to Playhouse – among many events, the boardroom tastings look amazing.
This year’s Playhouse features wines of New Zealand and Argentina – and will also highlight Rosé as the “global focus”.
For more on the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival visit it’s website - if you’re in Vancouver – GO! – there may still be time to check out some awesome events this weekend.
Images courtesy Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival.
I’m a bit late in writing this, but last Wednesday night I went to The Harvest – an event that Sean Moffitt invited me to.
The wine was available (some was good, some wasn’t…but all of it was VQA from various Vincor brands) the food was DELISH, but the company was the highlight of the evening. I met some fantastic Toronto tweeps (Casie Stewart, Jeremy Wright, ClickFlick I’m looking at you!) who made the night a ton of fun. Check out Casie’s take on the evening here.
In terms of event programming, maybe a few too many speakers after a few too many glasses of wine, but the best part was by far the panel which included a couple of Canada’s very well known winexperts (I like to make up words sometimes). I asked them their favorite BC wines, but for the life of me I couldn’t remember what Mark Moffatt said when I got home (note: bring a pen Kat, also don’t drink so much wine). If anyone who was at the event reads this and remembers, let me know!!
The Harvest later sparked some minor controversy in twitter land, but I’m going to avoid all that here and just say that the event was fun and I had a good time. Because it was and I did.
Plus, I won stuff!! A cookbook – Anita Stewart’s Canada and 30 bottles of wine! More to come on that.
Tonight I sent a tweet out saying that I found Angels Gate 2007 Cabernet Merlot VQA “yummy”. I thought this was a bit of a cop-out, considering there are so many other potential descriptor options for this wine (other words that come to mind include fruity/berry and a bit of oak) but really, I just found it “yummy”.
To my slight surprise I had a number of people on Twitter reply to me and say that yummy was in fact, often a good choice for a descriptor when it comes to wine.
Good to know it’s not just me. Sometimes wine is just yummy!
This past Tuesday night in Toronto I joined the group gathered at the Fine Wine Reserve for WineCampTO2. My first Camp experience and I had a really great time. Met lots of great people, tasted some really great wines and learned lots from some of the areas best.
First, wine critic/write extraordinaire (and VP of Wine at WineAlign.com) David Lawrason was on-hand to chat about the Ontario wine industry – where it’s been, where it’s going. David touched on the current hot topic of Cellared in Canada wines, which he said outsell VQA wines 6:1 in Ontario. I tried to get David to secretly tell me the winner for Winery of the Year at Canadian Wine Awards, which he just finished judging recently, but no luck. David was tight-lipped about the overall winner. He did share that the pinot noir was the best in the eight years the awards have been running and that Syrah was the ‘killer flight’.
Ann Sperling, Director of Winemaking and Viticulture at Southbrook Vineyards was also at the event and told us of her childhood on a winery in the Okanagan and riding horses through the vineyards – she clearly has wine in her blood (lucky)! Ann she talked about Southbrook’s journey to becoming a bio-dynamic winery, which some say is like being “organic but with hocus pocus”. Whatever it is, it’s working for Ann and her team at Southbrook. We were among the first to taste the 2008 Estate Merlot, which was delightful.
Ann mentioned the Southbrook has a Cellared in Canada license, but abandoned the use of it years ago.
No wine event would be complete without cheese. Krista Broadhurst, a rep for Ravine Vineyard and Assistant Sommelier at Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar brought some amazing selections of cheese to pair with a 2006 Riesling from Ravine. The Riesling was delish on it’s own, but I’m never going to say no to cheese with wine. Krista brought Niagara Gold and 1608 with her – both artisan semi-firm wash-rind cheeses. The 1608 was my favorite.
I can’t finish this without mentioning the AMAZING venue that WineCamp was located in. It was like Fort Knox for wine. Millions of dollars of wine inside individual cellar spaces for those who are really, REALLY serious about their wine collections. One false move and alarms would sound. I would have loved a tour – hopefully at WineCampTO3.
I’m in (very hot) BC for the next couple of weeks…while my main reason to be here is to spend time with mon amour, traveling and tasting as many BC wines are next on the list.
Our travels will take us from Kamloops to Bella Coola, then to Vancouver Island – Port Hardy, Campbell River, Tofino, Qualicum Beach/Parksville, Victoria and finally back to Van city.
I’m super excited about the BC VQA store in Parksville… I’ll have to plot how to eliminate some of the luggage I’m carrying so there is extra room in my suitcase and I can pack as much of it as possible.
The first wine I tried was Prospect Winery Major Allen 2007 Merlot. The wine was seriously delish. It stood up. I can see why the 2006 vintage was award winning. In the words of the boyfriend: “Prospect wine, very yummy.”
Recently my favorite LCBO Vintages advisor, Terry, suggested I try Vinho Verde instead of a rosé – as there were apparently no rosé wines in the entire LCBO store that lived up to Terry’s expectations. He explained that the Portuguese wine is extremely light and lovely for summer sipping. Terry suggested I drink it with garlic butter shrimps or octopus. It was >$10.
I did a quick search on the wine, and found on wikipedia that it’s name literally means “Green Wine”, referring to its youthful freshness rather than its color.
I enjoyed the bottle (yes, all of it, but hey – it’s only 9%!) on the dock at my friend Martina’s cottage and it was indeed a lovely summer afternoon drink. I found it very refreshing – partly because of the very slight hint of bubbles – and it was easy to drink.
Vinho Verde is something I’ll try again this summer – in fact, there’s a bottle chilling in my fridge already.